Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Too Many Tools

Once again my mother and her partner have accepted a sale, however this time, as a favor to a friend, it is simply a garage sale. A two car garage sale of nothing but tools and fishing equipment. A man's idea of paradise. Boring!

So for two days I've been writing down lists of what type of tools are there along with their model numbers and what the brand names are on the fishing reels (there are over one hundred of them) and oh my gosh I haven't even started on the fishing rods. After that, I got online and started trying to get an idea of prices for all that stuff. By Tuesday night my eyes were crossing and my nether region was sore from sitting in front of the computer. Good thing Denny and I have to attend a meeting about changes in our health insurance plan (probably not good news, either) today, simply as a distraction. Then tomorrow I'll be back at it with D & D (my mother and her cohort in crime) wondering what one man could have done with six circular saws, eight hand drills and one hundred fishing poles.

I'm leaving instructions for my kids to put me away if I fall prey to the "if one is good, eight is better" bug.

Oh, the picture above is apropos nothing in this blog. The bug "tents" in the tree simply caught my eye while walking Patches.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

This is why I wish I had continued my violin lessons

All the Grooviest Online Video in One Place,

Lazy Sunday Scene(s) From Our Windows

Looking out the window of my FIL's hospital room this week, all you could see was the blank brick wall of the next wing over. It's bad enough that you are stuck in a hospital bed but it's worse that there's no view to see out those windows. It made me realize how fortunate Denny and I are that we have something new to see every week or two. Sometimes the view isn't real exciting, but sometimes what's out there is stunning.

So this week's pictures are what I photographed from our campsite or from on the grounds of the campgrounds where we've stayed during our travels. In a few short weeks we'll be on the road again and taking more pictures. Whee!

On our last stay at St. David's Resort in St. David, Arizona, Denny and I had a camp site on the rear loop of the campground. It meant a long walk to the swimming pool, but in return we had a gorgeous view of the neighboring mountains.

While we werent' THIS close to the Crazy Horse Memorial, our campsite at the Heritage Village Campground in Custer, South Dakota allowed us to watch the explosions of rock removal from the memorial at a distance. Each morning I sat with my cup of coffee and watched the rising sun paint the face of Crazy Horse with sunlight.

Our site was just a short walk to the rocky beach at Mackinaw Mill Campground in Mackinaw City, Michigan. Denny and I would watch the ferries taking tourists to Mackinac Island and at night we'd sit and watch the lights of the Mackinac Bridge

The Rocky Comfort Plantation Campground in Warrenton, Georgia was the emptiest campground we've ever stayed at. We were here for the week of Thanksgiving and it was one of the best weeks we've had in our travels. It was quiet and peaceful and oh-so-dark at night and we were the only ones there for the entire week.

The full moon rising over the beach at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We always stayed at Pirateland at the south end of town because they had the largest campsites and the best views of the beach from the oceanfront sites.

Even though there was a busy roadway nearby, sitting outside in the evening at River Country Campground in Gadsden, Alabama was incredibly peaceful, especially when you had a gorgeous sunset to watch. In late November the campground puts up a huge display of lighted Christmas scenes and hundreds of lights that you can drive around the park to see. This campground had Wi-Fi before most people knew what Wi-fi was.

One of our favorite campgrounds is also one of the tiniest--Playa del Rio in Perido Key, Florida. At the north end of the campground was the boat docks on the Old River where you could watch dolphins play (it was also part of the Intracoastal Waterway) and crossing the two-lane roadway at the south of the campground led you to the beach on the Gulf of Mexico. It just doesn't get any better than that.

This is Patches' favorite campground--Colorado River Oasis in Ehrenberg, Arizona. We back our rig up to the Colorado River, hang out the hummingbird feeder and do nothing but relax and gaze at the river for two weeks. There are birds and boats and the occasional fox, bats and fishermen and sunsets galore.

Friday, August 24, 2007

FIL is Home

Many thanks to those who asked about Denny's dad. He came home from the hospital yesterday, although he now has to use a walker due to his lack of strength. Treatment of the bladder cancer is still up in the air so we'll just take each day as it comes. My sister-in-law said that when the doctor told her dad that he would be released as soon as he proved he could safely maneuver with his new walker, well FIL just about ran to the door with it. The poor man wanted to come home so badly!

So we picked green peppers and potatoes for him and filled the bird feeder and left him firmly ensconced in his lift chair recliner. He was grinning from ear to ear.

Patches 1--the Cat Whisperer 0

You may remember that this past winter Patches learned to open the rear window screen which allowed her to jump outside. Later, she did it again with one of the side window screens which we only discovered when she ran up to our truck when we arrived home one day. My solution was to block the screen track with an orangewood manicure stick and that seemed to work.

Well, one day last week we were in a hurry to leave the house and I forgot the orangewood stick so when we arrived home and there was no Patches waiting at the door we knew something was up. Sure enough, she had clawed open the screen again. Okay, my bad.

But this week, Patches topped herself. In an effort to prevent her from opening the screen while we slept, Denny and I started closing the windows to the main living area at night. Big mistake.

Notice, if you will, the location of Patches' paw. Magically, it appears to be on the outside of the screen. That is because it IS on the outside of the screen.

Miss Priss was busy one night trying to tunnel through screen and 1/4 inch of solid glass to get at the feral cats who taunt her at night by sitting under her window and staring up at her (I've caught them at it). We have squirted Patches with a squirt gun as she "picks" at the screen with her claws until she's dripping wet, but she simply hunches her shoulders until we're finished spraying her. At that point, she looks over her shoulder with great disdain as if to ask "is that all you've got?", immediately turning around to once again paw at the screen.

That morning I stopped at the dollar store to pick up a cap pistol, hoping that shooting it off while Patches picked at the screen would scare her. Nope, not even a flinch. But then again, today's cap pistols are but pale imitations of the solid cap guns of my childhood in the 50s. So the cap gun goes into the garage sale pile and I have to come up with something else to scare the cat away from the screens.

I'm thinking air horn. Seriously. The heck with the neighbors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vista Compliant My Foot!

Our new printer arrived and I spent the morning (what plug and play?) trying to make it work, since "Vista compliant" on the website does not mean Vista compliant out of the box. There was more swearing and back-and-forthing on the printer company website and error messages from Vista. Vista tries to be helpful, popping up messages asking if you want Vista to try to fix the problem/find the driver/sooth your soul and then telling you it can't do anything about it. Sheesh. But finally I found all the proper fixes and drivers and software updates and the new printer is attached and apparently fully functional. It's hard to tell if the fax function works since campgrounds tend not to have telephone lines run directly to your site. But someday, if we ever have a house and a landline phone again, we can send faxes. Cool.

Denny's dad is still in the hospital as he's still having problems with bleeding from his bladder. But he's comfortable and spending a lot of time sleeping so things are okay there. Cincinnati hasn't gotten enough rain to worry about cutting the grass down at dad's place and there really aren't any tomatoes to pick, so we're staying up here at the campground. The heat indexes for the rest of the week are between 100 and 105 degrees, so Denny and I are staying inside for the most part.

We're currently busy making plans to fly to Palm Springs in October for Denny's induction into the Police Softball Hall of Fame. It's WAY too far to drive the rig for three days just to turn around to be back in Ohio for Christmas. Plus I have my reservation in for a month of lazing at the beach in Myrtle Beach in November and I'm not giving that up! It may be warm, it may be cold there at that time, but it'll be the ocean and that's all that matters. I have to say, we are just chomping at the bit to get back on the road, even if we're going to some familiar places. We'll have to head to New York to see the grandkids--that's mandatory. But there will be a few new places and lots of new photo opportunities and new campgrounds for Patches to explore.

I believe I'm ready to go.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I Stand Corrected

For the last 5-6 days I've sat in front of the computer for hours as I've set up our new computer, loaded it with the files from our old computer, cleaned out and reformatted the old computer to take to my mother's house. Once at my mother's house I set up her "new" computer, transferred files, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Therefore Sunday's post was written on the fly at 7AM and a reader called me out on it. I chose a couple of Sunday's pictures based on my perception of areas within Yellowstone (crusty mud pots, hard mineral deposits around the hot springs) but chose pictures with water or a mound that has a perpetual sheen of water on it because of their beauty also. But they didn't really fit my theme. Or seem to. Because they did fit in my scatter-brained way of thinking. But Jim corrected me gently and added additional information to my brief captions that show a true love for the wonder that is Yellowstone National Park. Check out his place online.

Denny's dad is in the hospital so there may not be a lot of blogging going on here for a day or two. And we should be getting the new printer which is supposed to work with Windows Vista but I expect a fight with that, simply because it's the nature of the beast (anything Windows, that is). And I received my new beads to complete my breast cancer awareness bracelet I've designed (the prototype turned out very well) so there will be other things going on at the stuck-in-Ohio RV Vagabonds' house on wheels this week. Because there is a life outside of blogging, right? Uh, right?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Dry and Crunchy Lazy Sunday

Ohio is like the rest of the country when it comes to receiving rain--it's feast or famine. The area where we're staying seems to be in a "no rain" zone, while Cincinnati to the south of us and north Ohio have at times been inundated with rain storms.

The grass now crunches when I walk on it in my rambles with Patches. The thicket that separates our campground from the mobile home park up the hill has lost enough vegetation and leaves that I can now see the trailers up there. The creek bed is so full of dead leaves that I'll never get a chance to take a picture of the deer since they will hear us coming long before we come into view.

Therefore today's Lazy Sunday pictures are of dry,dried or dusty things.

The orange mound is a formation of calcified hot springs water that has built up over the millennium. The mound gets its colors from the various minerals and chemicals in the surrounding rock and in the sun it shines with a thin glaze of water. This was in Yellowstone National Park.

Dry mud beds and built up mineral deposits create a terraced effect on this hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.

This male roadrunner was attempting to avoid having his picture taken, running into the dry brush of the Arizona desert. He didn't know about zoom lens.

Can you even begin to imagine what the early pioneers had to go through to cross the western deserts of the U.S. in an attempt to get to "a better land" west of the Rockies? This old ferry sits in the dust near Three Island Crossing in Idaho near the Oregon Trail.

It was fun to walk the Oregon Trail, knowing that we could go back to the comfort of our air conditioned truck and trailer. The folks who walked this route on foot and by covered wagon had a miserable time of it.

Rocks, cactus, more rock, more cactus. It is dry enough here for the landscape of Silly Mountain in Apache Junction to be at home here in Ohio. How can everything be so dry when the air is so humid?

I needed some relief, so I've included a picture of the beach at St. Augustine. Ahh, feel the ocean spray!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Is It A Conspiracy Or Is It Just Me?

On Monday I ordered a new Dell computer. Not that our other computer was all that old, or insufficient for our needs, but my mother's computer had bogged down (probably from the heavy nicotine dose it gets daily) so I told her I'd sell her our computer cheap if she wanted. She wanted (even non-nerds get frustrated by slow computers), so Dell got my business. The Dell arrived at the campground at 11:50 Wednesday morning (free shipping/5% Good Sam Club discount--yay!) so for the last two days I've been transferring/uploading/downloading/cussing/etc. Microsoft's Vista program is different, to say the least. If you ever watch the Microsoft/Mac commercials and have seen the one where the Microsoft guy has a man standing behind him asking permission to act, well, that's pretty darned accurate (and funny). Vista is definitely going to take some getting used to.

Most of my applications transferred well and work seamlessly so far. The transfer of files was time consuming but doable with a very nice Vista files transfer system. The biggest problem turned out to be that my HP All-in-one printer software does not work with Vista and HP apparently has no intention of creating a fix so the software will work with Vista. HP's suggestion for a solution? BUY A NEW PRINTER! Okay fine, today we went out and bought a new printer and you can bet that it wasn't a HP printer. Pbbbhhhhtttt!! The printer has to be shipped also, but should be here Tuesday or so, which means I can use the next couple of days to get our old computer over to my mom's house and get it set up and everything transferred out of her old computer. Perhaps by Wednesday my eyes will uncross.

And this WILL be our last computer. If a statement is posted on a blog, that makes it official, right?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Yay for Denny!

Y'all want to see something cool? Check this out. Second name down. Yep, that's my man. We received confirmation today that he has officially been voted in to be inducted into the Police Softball Hall of Fame in
Palm Springs, California in October. I guess they have a huge complex of ball diamonds in what they call the field of dreams that's pretty terrific. So we may just have to figure out a way for us to get to California in October when they hold the Police Softball World Series. That's also when they'll do the induction ceremony, I guess.

Right at the moment, I'm kinda bustin' my buttons I'm so proud of him.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Synonyms: baffled, bested, circumvented, conquered, cowed, crushed, disappointed, discomfited, disheartened, frustrated, humbled, licked, mastered, overcome, overpowered, overthrown, overwhelmed, routed, ruined, subjugated, surmounted, thwarted, trounced, undone, vanquished, worsted

The deer won. When they got into the garden and ate the hearts out of the tomato plants, it stunted the growth of the plants and they are no longer setting fruit. There are no blossoms for future tomatoes and even if there were, that would mean the tomatoes wouldn't be ripe until late November. Yesterday Denny pulled eight of the remaining eleven plants because there was not a single tomato on them.

I know I have been running on about the garden over this summer's blog, but you see, Denny's dad loves his tomatoes and garden and just this week his surgeon told the family that Dad's slow-growing bladder cancer has passed the point of surgical intervention. Dad will start radiation therapy sometime next month. As a 96 year old, I don't know how he's going to react to radiation since he's already so frail.

So that's why it is so disappointing to Denny and I that the tomatoes didn't make it. We wanted Dad to have the biggest and best tomatoes ever this summer.

Now we're just hoping that we have a chance to try again next summer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Visions of What Used to Be

The title of this blog is a line from a very old song called Beautiful Ohio, which was well before my time, but I one that I learned because I grew up in a household where there was always a player piano in one form or another in our dining room. Since player pianos were big in the 20s and 30s, that's the era of the songs I learned as a child.

The song Beautiful Ohio was adopted as Ohio's state song in 1969, but they
the lyrics
to modernize it and to my way of thinking, ruined it.Hmph. Anyway, back to the blog.

Yesterday the cottonwood leaves fell like rain upon our roof. The lack of rain is really affecting the vegetation around here, making it seem like fall. Knowing
that we'll be leaving once the not-so-good crop of tomatoes is finished for the season, I have started to plot the route we'll take once we leave Ohio. I've managed to make use of most of our membership park affiliations to conserve funds, because we've decided to splurge on a month's stay at Myrtle Beach. It's been a few years since we've been there andPirateland Campground at the south end of town was our first stop when we officially hit the road as full-timers all those years ago. This year we'll stay at Lakewood RV Park instead, since the prices are better. Beachfront campgrounds are few and far between anymore and prices have gone up accordingly. But I have to admit, there's nothing more relaxing than sitting on the sand with a mug of coffee in hand, watching the surf roll in as the sun rises, so we're going to pay the

Because there will be only a few weeks between when we leave and when we return to Ohio for the Christmas holidays, Denny and I will only stay a week at each campground . This will be reminiscent of our first few years of travel, since now it's our habit to stay two weeks at a time when we're using the member parks system. Patches will
probably be unhappy, because she's gotten used to staying in one place and hasn't ridden in the truck for a while. When we do toss her in, she cries and complains for quite a few miles before she settles down for her nap. It will be a change for all of us. I know that Denny and I are ready to return to the lifestyle we love.

In the meantime, today is garden and lawn maintenance day in Cinci. Heigh ho, heigh ho, it's off to work we go...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Lazy Sunday Hanging Around the Campground

The heat indexes for the week were in the 105-110 degree range. Neither Denny nor I take the heat well so we held off on the gardening and lawn chores this week. Since there has been no rain around here at all, the grass isn't growing anyway. As a matter of fact, the lawns have begun to "crunch" when you walk on them. The trees are so stressed by the lack of water that some have begun to turn colors already and others, like the cottonwoods, are simply losing their leaves. By fall, there will be no leaves left to change color.

This week Patches discovered the half-feral cats that live in the mobile home park on the hill above us. There is a thicket that stands between our campground and the trailer park, but now that the leaves are falling Patches can see through the thicket to the places where the cats hide from the sun. That means she and I no longer walk the dry creek bed, but instead we wander back and forth in front of the thicket, waiting for the cats to return. Booorrrriinngggg. And also fewer photo opportunities. But here's a little of what the camera saw this week.

I planted our little lavender mini-rose bush under the cedar tree at the front of our site and it seems to be happy there.

It was while visiting our friends in southern Ohio that Denny and I realized we still weren't ready to settle down to life in a stick-built home again. We also realized that while the farmland setting was bucolic, we'd probably chose a wooded lot or one in the desert.

The lack of rain is causing the leaves to fall or change colors. This one was doing both.

A few weeks after Denny and I arrived at the campground, this tree fell across the dry creek bed. Two days ago I noticed something laying on top of the tree and when I checked it out I discovered...

...that a raccoon had picked an ear of corn from a neighboring cornfield and sat on the tree to have dinner. Litterbug.

Wow! It appears I snapped a picture of a leaf falling from a tree, right? Actually, this leaf was caught on a gossamer thread of spider silk that stretched from a tree limb down to the creek bed.

Sunsets here in Ohio haven't been too spectacular, so I've included one that I took while staying at The Narrows campground in Oregon. Notice the yurt in the left hand side of the picture. There were a couple of yurts available to rent if you didn't have a tent or RV.

This photo was taken from the same location as the one above, but just a few moments later. The photograph doesn't do the intense color of the evening sky justice.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Change of Pace

The Ohio Valley continues to swelter. All our construction-working neighbors here in the campground leave between 4:30 and 6:00AM in an effort to beat the heat. The poor guys return home later and later each evening, sometimes after 8PM, so deadlines must be looming, too.

Denny and I haven't been doing much as we both get nasty and short-tempered in the heat, plus I have tend to suffer from heat exhaustion easily so we've been staying inside the rig. We figured this was a good week to go visit a former co-worker who has had recent surgery with some unfortunate complications. "D" is finally back home with his wife in the hills of southern Ohio and ready for company, so Denny and I drove down to see D and J.

D and J also traveled fulltime for a few years by RV, but they fell in love with southern Texas in the winter and traded in their RV for a mobile home and bought a summer house in southern Ohio. They have a lovely home set on a few acres of land back in farm country and they love the peace and quiet that it provides. Their Texas mobile home/RV park provides a lot of activity in the winter, so summers are for kicking back and enjoying the wildlife and the tranquility. The Amish neighbors raise goats and Tennessee Walking horses and the farmers down the road share their fresh sweet corn.

The four of us talked for hours before it was time for us to head back home. Denny and I don't like to drive country roads after dark because that's when the nocturnal animals are on the move and crossing the roadways and we'd just as soon not run into a deer. We chose to return home by a different route and enjoyed the change of scenery. Our hot, dry summer has affected the trees and vegetation; leaves are starting to brown and drop early this year. But the gentle rolling hills of southern Ohio are still pretty and will be prettier still in the fall.

It was a longish drive to visit with D and J, but after losing my friend Marilyn without seeing her on our winter visit like we normally did, Denny and I decided that we'd never again pass up the opportunity to visit with friends while we had the chance. It was a sorely learned lesson.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Tidbit for RVers

I'm not real happy with the Flying J organization to begin with considering the events of last year, but the latest news is that they no longer accept VISA cards at the truckers' fuel pumps. You can still use your VISA card at the auto fuel pumps and at those stations with RV islands, but the card is no longer welcome if you prefer to fill up on the truckers' side.

Way to go, Flying J.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Lazy Sunday Week in Review

It's the Braun family reunion weekend. There is the usual babble of Brauns, what seems to be hundreds of young children and a few crying babies. The menu is simple; grilled hamburgers, chicken breasts, bratwurst, hot dogs and corn on the cob and lots of it. The beer flows freely as did the sweat, because it was a miserably hot and humid day with the same forecast for today. Fortunately, as part of my grandma duties I got to sit with my feet in the swimming pool while I played with our youngest granddaughter which kept me from ending up as a puddle of sweat on the concrete. Small favors. Today it's our part of the family's turn to handle grilling chores for an hour so I'm hoping that the "scattered thundershowers" predicted for today at least provide some cloud cover relief from the sun while we roast along with the food. I'm thinking we should take a vote for changing the annual "do" to June--it's got to be cooler then!

Due to the heat, when we weren't doing lawn and garden chores, we were just veggin' out inside in air conditioned comfort, so the pictures I took this week were of what I saw while walking Patches in the evening. Hitch itch is starting to set in, folks. Seriously. It's time to get on the road!!! Two more months. *Pathetic sigh*.

Tall bellflowers wave in the breeze along the creek bed here at the campground and provide the lone color along the banks.

This rather tattered and worn Red Admiral butterfly escaped Patches' attention (and tendency to eat what she traps between her paws) so he lived to fly another day.

I'm still working on getting a good picture of some of the many spider webs that I discover in my walks with Patches. I believe this spider to be the Micrathena sagittata or Arrowhead Micrathena, but it was too high in the tree for me to get a good look.

You have to look closely to spot the wild strawberries growing in the weeds at the back of the campground (Patches' favorite wandering spot as there as feral cats back there).

I hated cicada shells as a child as my dad would use them to chase us. Scary looking things that are uglier than the real insect, this one was hanging from the twine that surrounds Denny's father's garden.

Our youngest granddaughter, Kara, in a quiet moment. Very rare.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Puddling Around

Thank goodness for air conditioning, because otherwise Denny and I would just be puddles of perspiration. Yesterday was chore day in Cincinnati, where we discovered that the deer had left the garden alone for the last few days (new Caress soap left around the perimeter or the stinky coyote urine stuff, one of the two). To distract my FIL from the idea of shooting the deer (now THAT'S an accident waiting to happen) Denny installed a bird feeder near the driveway so FIL could sit looking out the picture window and watch the cardinals and chickadees. I hope that works because once FIL gets an idea stuck in his head he's as stubborn as they come.

There are about six tomatoes ripening on the window sill of my FIL's house and we snuck one out of the garden to ripen at our place. The old saw about the full moon causing the tomatoes to ripen wasn't quite on track, but it's been a weird summer, weather-wise.

The Braun family reunion is this weekend and our oldest son, Steve is coming in from New York with his wife and our granddaughters. It will be a raucious meeting of a gazillion Brauns with lots of food, talk and laughter. And sweat. Lots and lots of sweat. Next year I'm holding out for having the reunion somewhere in the northern climes of Canada--it's GOT to be cooler there. Right, Coll?
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